When visiting Thailand, there’s no time on the agenda to be aching, sore or ill, so during the last couple of weeks, I have thrown myself into life with great gusto. As those motivating, life-affirming signs always tell you to do, I lived every day to the full; as it were my last, in fact, and to hell with the consequences.
I took a longtail boat out in the pouring rain and explored the islands off the Krabi coastline. I discovered Phra Nang Cave – a shrine of wooden penises! I went snorkeling off of Chicken Island, though sadly there were more Chinese tourists flailing around in the water than pretty fishes in the sea.
I leapt from the top of a tree and into the unknown, soaring above the leafy canopy of a jungle, a stomach-churning 100 feet above the rainforest floor. I said a silent prayer and abseiled down the trunk of an incredibly tall tree.
I fed bucket loads of bananas and sugar cane to some rescued elephants. I stood waist-deep in murky water, washing and scrubbing their tough, bristly skin. I fed carrots to giraffes and stroked their noses; one sneezed on me. Very pleasant!
I experienced the lax and rather unofficial/unpredictable rules of the local road, clinging onto the back of a speeding moped. I visited bustling night markets and had the dead skin on my feet nibbled off by 100’s of fish. I had my knotted muscles and painful joints pummelled to within an inch of my life, and my skin scrubbed down, oiled up and kneaded to that point where pleasure starts to merge into a rather necessary pain. I ate a lot of Thai Green Curry.
And then for the pièce de résistance in this bucket list of physical challenges: I scaled a waterfall. Yes, that’s right, me, a person who often has difficulty making it up a flight of carpeted stairs. I clambered up and down some very steep rocks into oncoming cascading water; barefoot and by hand, no less.
Sadly this impressive feat has nothing to do with a miraculous cure or some newly acquired superpowers. Rather it was down to the limestone mineral deposit on the rocks at Sticky Waterfalls (officially known as Buatong or Bua Thong waterfalls) that turns even the most uncoordinated person with zero balance and climbing skills (that would be me) into a sure-footed, Spiderman-like superhero.
I’m now half way through the trip and it’s time to take regroup and recover; time to deal with those consequences I mentioned at the start. I’m used to the drill and it’s nothing I haven’t experienced 100 times before. But oh boy, why do those consequences have to be such a brutal wake-up call.
I’m into the fifth day of ‘post overdoing it’ agony: bone-jarring, head to toe pain, hypersensitive skin, inflammation in single every nook and cranny and the life-sapping lethargy that makes every set of stairs seem like a mission too far.
Remind me again how the hell I managed to scale a waterfall?!
Of course, I know my body will settle back down in time and forgive me for taking the proverbial. It always does, eventually. I suspect, however, it might take a little longer than normal to bounce back this time. In hindsight, perhaps the Spiderman antics might have been taking things a step too far.